Markram century on return proves South Africa's saving grace before minor collapse on day one

By Sports Desk February 28, 2023

Aiden Markram enjoyed a tremendous return to Test cricket on the first day of the opener against West Indies with a century that ensured South Africa's subsequent minor collapse was not too drastic.

The Proteas began a new era at Centurion Park with Temba Bavuma as captain and Shukri Conrad as head coach, and it initially looked to be starting in style as Markram and former skipper Dean Elgar combined impressively.

But after that pair helped the hosts to 221-2, South Africa endured a difficult third session, eventually reaching 314-8 at stumps.

Elgar paid the price for the crushing defeat by Australia but benefited from early luck on Tuesday when his outside edge was dropped by Roston Chase.

He eventually fell to Alzarri Joseph (3-60), caught by Jermaine Blackwood – who did well to readjust himself – after ramping it too short.

Markram then took over.

He survived a scare on 99, the ball only hitting his shoulder before being caught and slapped the next delivery for four to bring up his century.

Yet Markram was also sent packing by Joseph, a devastating yorker at the base of off stump indicative of the Windies' gradual improvement.

Markram departed with South Africa on 236-4 – Tony de Zorzi's (28) inconspicuous run out began something of a collapse a little earlier, before Bavuma went for a duck thanks to another excellent Joseph delivery snaring him lbw.

Keegan Petersen (14), Heinrich Klaasen (20), Senuran Muthusamy (3) and Kagiso Rabada (8) all went back to the pavilion without making much of an impact.

Marco Jansen (17 not out) and Gerald Coetzee (11 not out) at least ensured South Africa passed 300.

 

Markram back from the wilderness

Markram was left out of the series with Australia in December and January amid what interim coach Malibongwe Maketa at the time called a "dip" in form.

It is fair to say he responded emphatically here, with 115 off 174 to give South Africa a real foothold. Ultimately, most of the rest of the team did not do his efforts justice, but either way this was a big moment for Markram, who looked quite emotional when confirming his sixth Test ton.

Joseph the Windies' inspiration

It took a while for the tourists to get to grips with South Africa, but there is little doubt Joseph played a vital role in turning the tide somewhat.

He claimed the scalps of both Elgar and Markram, as well as captain Bavuma, who barely knew what hit him when Joseph's ferocious delivery slapped straight into his shin.

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